Are you delivery focused?

A lot of buzz words and pseudo terminology hangs around in the IT world, especially at the CV and recruitment end. One that I have stumbled on many times over the years when looking for the next contract or screening CVs is “delivery focused”, usually with reference to project management. (is there another type of project manager?).

Last week I was surprised when I got a glimpse of one of the meanings , which is both accurate from an IT viewpoint and just a little sad from a business and even human viewpoint.
A potential client, an IT director I have known for some time, asked if I was available for a strictly IT project. On asking the inevitable question quite tactfully, he explained that he saw me as a rounded person, who was generally keen on delivering the benefits of the project. What he urgently needed was someone who would concentrate on delivering the system.

Based on the banter that followed, I managed to guess that as far as he was concerned, he didn’t have much faith in the system to deliver, had not been properly consulted in his view and the boundary of his responsibility was delivering the system into production safely.
On a personal note, I was surprised at the assumption that I couldn’t take a brief and deliver on it, though I doubt this was really what he had intended to intimate.

What the incident really illustrated for me is the gulf that still exists between IT and the business across so many organisations. Delivering the technology is increasingly straightforward as we improve our skills, but delivering the intended benefits will always require a joined up effort from initial strategic planning right through to keeping users supported and induction of new ones.

A wise man once told me that you have to work within the capabilities of the organisation you are working with and he was right, so most of us deliver these projects on a regular basis and quite a few do go on to deliver benefits after a slow and expensive start, but wouldn’t it be so much more productive if we worked together. I’d like to see “results focused” replacing “delivery focused” on CVs and job specifications.

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